Emilie Leathers, an 11th grader at St. Andrew's-Sewanee (SAS), has been recognized with the NFHS Student-Athlete Award of Excellence, presented by the TSSAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations. This distinction is given to high school athletes who demonstrate exceptional sportsmanship and integrity on and off the field or court.

Leathers, a dedicated volleyball player at SAS, proved that character and honesty can prevail even in the heat of competition. During a tense match against Berean Academy, where three of the five sets were decided by a mere two points, Leathers displayed a remarkable act of sportsmanship.

In two separate instances where points were incorrectly awarded to SAS due to missed line judge calls, Leathers stood up for fairness and honesty. She informed the official of the errors, resulting in points being rightfully awarded to Berean Academy. Despite the stakes of the game, Leathers prioritized integrity over victory, a move that resonated with teammates, opponents, and spectators alike.

Her actions exemplify the SAS honor code and have made a significant impact on the school community. The school's athletic director shared Emilie's story with the entire student body, underscoring the importance of honesty, integrity, and sportsmanship in all aspects of life.

Off the court, Leathers continues to exhibit a well-rounded approach to life. She is a diligent student who also enjoys weightlifting and babysitting, always aiming to improve herself both academically and personally.

Leathers' act of sportsmanship serves as an important reminder of the value of setting a good example in school-based educational athletics. Participation in sports is not just about winning or losing. It's about learning to play the game with respect, honesty, and integrity.

Young athletes like Emilie Leathers remind us that the true value of sports is not found on the scoreboard, but in the character developed and lessons learned on the field. Let's all take a leaf from Leathers' book and strive to uphold these values in our own spheres of life.

Nominate a student in your school today! Please use the form linked below to share a story about a student-athlete you know who has demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship, integrity, and ethics. If you have any questions about the award or the nomination process, please contact Courtney Brunetz (cbrunetz@tssaa.org).

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